and this presence
for my wings
and they carry me
in my body
whatever I do
from one hushed moment
to another - David Whyte
I spotted a bird lying on it's side outside my workshop door. I slid my feet into a pair of converse slides and went to examine the bird. I picked it up and sat with it cupped in my hands for awhile. It was so weightless, so soft and very still. Every so often it looked up at me with its dark eyes and blinked. I wasn't sure if it was seriously injured or just stunned from hitting a window, never the less it couldn't move. After some time of just holding it and loving it, I took a photo then found a small box and gently placed it inside. I left it on my swinging futon while I went back inside to finish getting ready. I wanted to keep it safe from predators, but I wanted it to be able to fly out if it recovered. When I came back to check on it, the bird was standing up. With great delight I reached my hand inside and it jumped out then hopped away under a bush where it was well camouflaged. I'm guessing it was only stunned after all and needed a bit of time and a safe place to rest. I was so glad I found it before some other critter did.
I sat there in the grass for a moment and remembered the time I was walking across Varick Street when something caught my eye as I was stepping off the curb. It was a fledgling sitting in a puddle. At first I thought it had drowned because its eyes were closed, but then I noticed a slight swaying so I scooped it up. I kept walking with this tiny wet bird cupped in my hands not knowing if it would die right there in my palm. Suddenly I felt it stir. The warmth from my hands revived it. I whistled and it peeked its head out between my thumb and forefinger and peeped back. It reminded me of a cuckoo clock and I laughed. I was not sure what to do exactly, so I hailed a taxi uptown to the Animal Medical Center on 62nd Street. Every once in awhile I would whistle to it, and again, and again, it would peek its head out and peep. When I got to the medical center I made them promise me that they would not destroy the bird, but release it into the park when it was strong enough. Before I handed over the bird, I gave one last whistle and it poked it's tiny noggin out between my fingers and whistled back. This time the docs laughed with me. I will never forget the fluttering of that little bird between my cupped hands. My heart feels like that sometimes.
If you ask me why I do this work I will say
because it blesses me
and if you ask me how it is that it blesses me
i will say that i have no words for how it blesses me
except that it feels like the time i found a tiny bird
in a puddle on varick street,
and thinking it might be drowned, scooped it up
and carried it away between my palms
and how when i was walking,
the heat of my hands warmed it,
and it began to flutter and peep .
the way that felt,
that is how it feels in my heart
that is how it blesses me